Xerra's Blog

Drunken coder ramblings

Getting iDef to the people —

iDef is almost here. It’s a great game but I suspect it’s going to be a very niche market that really goes for it and appreciates the labour of love that it’s actually been. As far as I recall, Aaron has been working on it for at least two years. We’re talking coding from scratch, and then recoding certain parts as the engine and OS changed. Not to mention rewriting entire chunks of it much later on to incorporate the time-saving features of SpriteBuilder. Ironically, this made it an even longer project, but it’s all about the learning-curve, so it was very helpful to approach it this way.

iDef is a hard game. It’s designed and written that way. Game design is a thankless process where you’re never going to please everyone, no matter how hard you try. Games will either be too easy or too hard, depending on the player so, in this case, Aaron has set his goal post right from the start and be done with it.

Casual players with slower reactions – exactly the person I have become – may not like it because it’s quick, it’s tough and it’s pretty unrewarding, all things considered. However, it’s playable, and fun, once you embrace it, but, the fact is, some people will not, and that’s the market we will get the flack from, should they try it.

I’m currently 46 years old and I consider myself an “old-school” gamer. I’ve been messing with home computers and consoles since I was 13 years old so, I would like to think, I know what I’m talking about. I came on-board as a business partner with Aaron late into iDef’s development so I’m just helping in whatever capacity I can while it’s completed. One of my first tasks was the testing and I was extremely vocal about the difficulty of the game from the outset.

“It’s too hard. I can’t really get any points or test it properly because my reactions aren’t good enough.” is what I said.

“Play it a bit more” Aaron replied. “Practice makes it easier. It’s hard at first but once you get into it then you’ll get much further.”

He’s right, I did.

I can rack up pretty good scores now, work out viable strategies, pull off moves that I know are going to trigger achievements when they are coded in, and, hopefully, make a respectable presence in game-centre tables once it goes live. And I’m 46 years old with pretty poor eyesight, and reactions that probably would let you know that there’s a football heading for my face about 15 minutes after it hit me.

Conclussion: iDef will not appeal to everyone. There are haters who are going to hate. But this is true of all games. I would like there to be some kind of system on the appStore to show how long a purchaser has played the game before he writes their damning, or favourable, review, but it’s probably not going to happen.

However, I also look forward, with great satisfaction, to hearing from the guys who’ve given it a decent run, racked up some reasonable scores, and accepted that it’s a hard game and they need a bit of practice to get any good at it. There are too many throw-away games out there that are designed purely to be easy as anything and just bleed you with in-app purchases, so the developers can cash in on the suckers who believe in buying their way through a game.

My business partner and I are commited to putting gameplay, and value-for-money, above anything, and everything else, when it comes to producing games. If we don’t prove this with iDef then our next game certainly will. That is a labour-of-love and nostalgia, with a game design that’s going to involve an incredible amount of work.

Here’s a Dexterity Design promise right now. iDef, on release, will cost 79 pence. The cheapest price we can put it up for. The only scenario there will be any kind of in-app purchase will be if we release a demo version, as you will be able to pay that price to unlock the full game within, and that will be it.

I’m confident, given time, iDef will be really well received. But it will be down to us to ensure that people will be made aware of it. There’s a huge amount of work in the game that is highly unlikely to even be noticed, but what will shine through is the amount of love that went into designing, and creating, the game from both of us.

iDef is coming soon. Please support us by trying it out. We have the utmost attention towards any constructive criticism, or praise, that people have for it. We are currently beta-testing with selected people right now so keep an eye on our website, or this blog, for release details.


Categorised as: Development

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